Dreams and Inner Bonding - Part IIBy Nancy Weston
December 31, 2006
Applying the 6-Step Inner Bonding process to your dream world can result in deeper emotional and spiritual growth. Dreams are a true gift from Spirit, a compass of inner guidance. This article expands on Nancy's first article on dreams, giving more examples and help with understanding dreams.
In Inner Bonding theory, the child-adult develops as the child, growing up, adopts "adult" ways of being that are not loving. A. as the dream ego struggles with an adult job that is too much for her; she is intimidated by the child-adult who runs the show and controls things with her intellect. A. recognizes the "extreme anxiety and discomfort" that her Child feels. Since dreams come to show us ways that we can grow into loving Adults, A. could learn from this inner dialogue that her Child wants her to alleviate the weight of intellectualization, allowing her to be free as a child can be.
Sometimes a dream will come to tell us that we now have access to the tools that we need to grow into loving Adults. L., shortly after attending her first Inner Bonding workshop with me, reported this dream: I am at a Margaret Paul workshop. A small group works with Margaret Paul on "power." Margaret Paul gives me two iron rods (they look like heavy tools). She puts one in each hand and says, "Come with me to the power group."
Interestingly, L. had never met Margaret Paul but had read INNER BONDING. One of the tools of Inner Bonding is the written dialogue process between the dominant "Adult" hand and the non-dominant "Child" hand, a powerful way to begin the process of inner connection. This dream is exciting with its suggestion that the Inner Bonding process is a powerful tool to ground oneself, and that L. has access to a process that she can make her own.
S.T. has been practicing Inner Bonding for nearly a year. Her dream "Just Observe" illustrates a significant step her process: I am at college. It's big. I don't know anyone. I am confused. I find a "guidance counselor" professor. He's asking me questions to help me figure out what to do. He doesn't tell me anything. He doesn't blame. I look on his blackboard and see designs and I try to make sense of it. I answer a question and he seems satisfied. The lesson seemed to be : just observe first. S.T. has learned that before we can change anything, we need to notice it. Noticing with compassion, not judgment, keeps us open to learning. When we stay protected we cannot learn or grow. But if we are willing to open to inner messages and guidance from a higher source, then true change can happen.
A very interesting development in the process occurs as Inner Bonding terminology begins to appear in the dreams themselves.
In one dream I am confronted by a person who feels left out of a certain relationship. I tell her that my intent was not to exclude her, but she says, "How would you feel if you were me? Wouldn't you be hurt?" In the dream I explain gently that I might briefly, but after the initial hurt of feeling excluded, I would know that my job is to tell my Child that this isn't about her. I would hold my Child inside until she felt better. I try to say this in an informational way that will not make her feel judged.
In another very powerful dream that for me had many levels of meaning and work, I find my therapist smoking and acting in other unfamiliar ways. When I ask her about it, she says defensively, "You know, we're not all perfect all the time." I figure there must be a very good reason for her behavior, so I ask quietly and gently, "What's going on?" Her response is harsh: "Don't play therapist with the therapist." I am uncomfortable and disappointed at how defensive she is.
As I worked this dream, I realized that I have a very tricky child-adult who would stop at nothing, including impersonating my therapist in my dream, to keep me from looking at painful memories and core issues that were emerging in my waking life at the time. This dream came to tell me that I as a loving Adult could trust my own perceptions and find my own voice of authority.
I am encouraged when I am able in dreams, over which I believe I have no conscious child-adult or ego control, to view events from a Loving Adult perspective ("higher Self"). This stage of Inner Bonding fascinates me and validates and confirms the deepening of my work with the process. I see that I am integrating new ways of being in both dream and waking worlds, and that it is not just mechanical practice of the Six Steps.
I still cherish one dream I had the night before I was to present an Inner Bonding workshop. I was particularly nervous about this one because one of my high-school students and her mother were to attend. This challenged many of my fears and false beliefs about my image, my vulnerability, my need for confidentiality, and my so-far successful separation of my work world and personal life. I am on a field trip with students, at the top of a snow-covered mountain. I have no skis and try to sidestep gingerly down the mountain. It is too much work. Finally I just let go and trust, skiing unharmed down the mountain with my shoes. I look up to see the students imitating me! A companion worries they will be hurt but they are OK, falling into a snow-drift. I collect them to return to the bus, but the path is covered with high snow drifts. I sweep my foot back and forth and the snow parts like the waters of the Red Sea. Another chaperone is amazed, but I say, "It's easy; I knew exactly where the path was under my feet."
The spiritual nature of this dream infused me with the confidence to present the workshop in my Loving Adult rather than with a child-adult's fears and protections.
In your dreams, you too might find yourself tuning into an abandoned dream-child's cries, feeding or clothing a dream-infant, hearing inner guidance, or taking Loving Adult action. Applying the 6-Step Inner Bonding process to your dream world can result in deeper growth. Dreams are a true gift from Spirit, a compass of inner guidance. All dreams illuminate paths where necessary work is revealed, they confirm our growth, and they "come in the service of health and wholeness" (Jeremy Taylor) of all our parts.
(I continue to collect "Inner Bonding dreams." Please send them to me c/o Margaret Paul.)
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Today, slow down. Breathe. Walk more slowly. Be mindful - present to yourself, to others, to your environment, to Spirit. Each moment you are truly present is a moment of enlightenment.
By Dr. Margaret Paul